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Figure 4 | EPJ Data Science

Figure 4

From: Inequality and cumulative advantage in science careers: a case study of high-impact journals

Figure 4

Decreasing inter-publication waiting timeτ(n)is quantitative evidence for cumulative advantage in science. (A) Schematic of a science career, where major accomplishments sustain career growth. Specifically, publications in high-impact journals serve as a record of scientists capitalizing on opportunities for success, and the duration τ i j (n) between a scientist’s success n and success n+1 provide a quantitative method for analyzing cumulative advantage. We search for quantitative evidence of self-reinforcing social mechanisms by analyzing productivity patterns in specific journal sets that are highly competitive and widely targeted. (B) The average waiting time τ j (n) between publication n and publication n+1 shows a significant decreasing trend as an author continues to publish in a given journal set. A decreasing τ j (n) between publications suggests that an advanced publication career (larger n) facilitates future publications by leveraging reputation, expertise, seniority, and other cumulative resources. The values of τ j (1) are 2.9 yrs. (Cell), 2.4 yrs. (Econ.), 2.8 yrs. (Mgmt. Sci.), 3.6 yrs. (Nat./PNAS/Sci.), 4.3 yrs. (NEJM) and 3.1 yrs. (PRL). The journal PRL exhibits a more rapid decline in τ(n) because of possible rapidity in successive publications (often by large high-energy experiment collaborations that publish many publications together in a single issue). Only research profiles with L5 years and N p 5 are included in the calculation of these inter-event waiting-time curves. In order to reduce censoring bias arising form careers that started before the beginning of each data sample, we only included trajectories with the first publication year y i , 0 j 1970 for the natural and management sciences and y i , 0 j 1960 for the economic sciences. (C, D) Complementary cumulative probability distribution, P(τ(n)), for publications n=1,,15 in (C) the Economics and (D) Nat./PNAS/Sci. journal sets. The distributions are right-skewed, indicating the possibility of a relatively long waiting time τ(n) for all n. However, by n=10 the observed likelihood of waiting 3 or more years, P(3|n=10), falls to roughly 0.2 for both Econ. and Nat./PNAS/Sci.

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